It may just look like another group of crazed teens ready to cause chaos, but there is a new legion of youth platforms on the come up and they plan to bring a voice to our youth culture to counter stereotypical interpretations. Daily restrictions on where we can go and living with the watchful eye of authority figures tracing our every move, is just an example which signifies the ignorance of some of the older generation which impacts us every day.
With exam season finally over, many upcoming events have been put together, catching the attention of local youths craving the time over the summer to catch up, have fun and network. But a recent political event has taken precedent over everything else, leaving the majority of the younger generation stunned with horror; Brexit. With statistics showing a large percentage of 65+ year olds voting to leave the EU by making a decision which will drastically reconstruct our future, we are left speechless and unheard with very little political input being offered. This is a major battle that the youth are constantly fighting; the lack of power. Nevertheless, at such an early stage, there is no accurate prediction of what will happen next. But, there is hope that positive change stimulated by the compelling opinions of young people could take place in response to Brexit.
Many young individuals recently travelled from all parts of London and beyond to attend Cr8tive London’s Cool Kids Link Up in Hackney Wick. These are young British creatives who have taken the opportunity to use their networks to interact and socialise – whether it’s through modelling, photography, dance or fashion. The importance of how we can use our freedom to creatively express ourselves, was clearly reflected in the turn out. Strangely, the Cr8tive London team prefer to remain anonymous, but from the information you can gather from social media, it’s ‘An online platform that shares all creative talents in and around London and creates a fun environment to network.’
Young creatives, including regular Nation of Billion’s contributor Aliyah Otchere, took to the day capturing distinctive highlights, shooting clothing lines such as Trill Vibes Wear whose bold, unorthodox, tie dye clothing dominated the scene. Some of London’s most well-known photographers scattered across the location shooting with models of all styles. You could catch frequent sighting of people as young as 16 confidently approaching other peers and taking advantage of all the skills that flooded the crowd. Present were directors, dancers, music, stylists of all types – either beginners or experienced – freelance or professional.
An insight into the modern day teenager – the originality of one’s style – the priceless representation that says you can be yourself
The work provides an insight into the modern day teenager – the originality of one’s style – the priceless representation that says you can be yourself and be praised for executing the unexpected. This was a day that emphasised the strong, undermined bond between all members of the young community. This was also a day which personally reflected the shadowed yet inexplicable enthusiasm and aspiration amongst a group of adolescent youngsters. Those who attended, built on the foundations of the event and merged the contacts of expertise present. Networking at its finest.
As a result of these ongoing issues affecting a large population of young people, youth platforms such like Cr8tive London are on the come up and plan to bring a voice to the youth as well as provide guidance for those who want to be a part of the creative industry. Flex Network, who also attended the Cool Kids Link Up, are also an upcoming teen platform which focuses on pin pointing and educating the public on the misconceptions of the young generation by bringing the unknown on youth culture to life.
Brexit has shown many people, including myself that we are a young generation that are actually more politically aware than expected
With Brexit dominating the headlines, things are not looking great for the young people of Britain. However, events such as the Cool Kids Link Up bring together many politically and socially muted voices and ideologies and form a bold, impenetrable league who together, have the power to stand up to issues such as Brexit, freely express ourselves and support each other’s goals. Brexit has shown many people, including myself that we are a young generation that are actually more politically aware than expected, we are just restricted by what we can do to implement our decisions. Maybe soon, the government and many other young people will wake up and stand up to social inequalities so that we can have more control over our future.
The final product from the work of all the photographers and models is an example of how working together can lead to such an amazing result. From a personal perspective the pictures signify more than what is shown on the surface. It was interesting to see how the gathering of likeminded figures within such a short amount of time led to the exchange of small conversations, compliments and social media profiles. A symbol of unification between complete strangers through the use of visual art. Unification over powering and going against all the images portrayed of teens in the media which I find extraordinary.
With young creatives now influencing social media, leading magazines and the latest fashion and music trends, it is almost impossible to ignore the rise of the youth against the social hierarchy. Although there is a lot of work that still needs to be done to re-guide the lost population of the young generation, opportunities like this indicate a bright future ahead. It could be the production of authentic pictures, outstanding collaborations, recognition or even a grand change that positively impacts this young generation – anything is possible.
Shots by Aliyah Otchere on Film with a Canon T90 camera – age 16
Words by Laura Khamis – age 16